Meet the Real Snow 2016 contenders
Real Snow 2016
Real Snow is back for its sixth year, bigger and better than ever. The videos drop, and the online Fan Favorite vote starts, on Wednesday. The behind-the-scenes show on the making of all the videos plays on ABC on Saturday, March 12. Want to know who's in the contest this year? Read on.
The 25-year-old from Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, has been snowboarding for 20 years and grew up "hypnotized by the Forum, Mack Dawg and Robot Food movies. I watched those movies on repeat for years," Bourgeois said, laughing. "I've been filming video parts with Brothers Factory for six years now, trying to push my snowboarding to something different, looking for new spots or for new ways to hit an old spot." Bourgeois is not new to video competition. He's got two wins (2013, 2014) in "Stairmasters," where riders are given one month to film and edit a one-minute street-focused video.
The lack of mountains in Quebec pushed Anto Chamberland toward street snowboarding. He started entering rail contests to pay off firefighting school, which led to filming invitations, which led to sponsorship and more filming, which led him here. Chamberland has been filming with the Shredbots crew for the past two years and has made the podium of the Canadian video contest "Stairmaster" for the past three.
"I started snowboarding by standing up on sleds in my backyard," Cole Navin said. "My first run was at a golf course in my neighboring hometown. For me, street snowboarding has been an organic and natural evolution. I'm a product of my environment. Street snowboarding is a creative and accessible form of snowboarding. There is a lot of passion and comradery involved. Although it's generally difficult, I find it to be one of the most gratifying things there is."
Dylan Thompson is a Real Snow veteran who already holds bronze (2014) and silver (2015) medals in the event. The Oregon native who grew up riding Mount Hood moved to Brighton, Utah, after high school and rose through snowboarding's ranks as part of the Technine family. He now spends his days riding in Utah in the winter and surfing the Oregon coast in the summer. "Surfing is my biggest passion outside of snowboarding," Thompson said. "I like to watch it and try to bring some of that style into my riding."
Zak Hale grew up in Big Bear, California, "the Mecca of park snowboarding. I saw every pro snowboarder come through there and have worked as hard as I could to get to the same point," Hale said. "Being selected for this event means a lot to me because this is what I have seen myself doing since I was kid."
"I've been a professional snowboarder for over a decade," Jake Welch said. "I've had both opening and closing video segments throughout those years. Snowboarding is my life -- it's what I am most passionate about, and it is how I feel I can best express myself. Snowboarding is what keeps me sane."
Welch's partner: Justin Meyer
Videograss founder Justin Meyer has been filming snowboarding for about 15 years. He created the first Web series in snowboarding, called "Sunday in the Park," and since starting Videograss in 2007 he has produced, directed and edited more than 12 snowboard videos. "Justin has been a good friend of mine for a long time, so working with him just made sense," Welch said. "Also a huge reason I chose to work with him is his style of filming and editing. The videos and edits he made over the past decade are amongst my favorites. They are what I watch before I go snowboarding to get me excited." "Real Snow is a new challenge -- to try and create something under a time crunch excites me," Meyer said. "Jake is also filming for our current Videograss project, so it made sense to just kill two birds with one stone and do the best I could to make him look good."
Hale's partner: Sam Fenton
"Sam has a lot of experience with street snowboard filming," Zak Hale said of his behind-the-camera Real Snow counterpart, Sam Fenton. "He has a serious roster of riders he has worked with. Choosing him as a partner was a no-brainer!"
Navin's partner: Jon Stark
"Filming with Jon is awesome," Cole Navin said of his Real Snow partner, Jon Stark. "He is creative, hilariously funny, and a really good friend of mine. Collaborating and bouncing ideas off one another is one of the best parts about our filming process."
Thompson's partner: Cole Taylor
"Cole and I have been filming together since my very first part and he's been a part of every project in between," Dylan Thompson said of his Real Snow filmer-editor partner, Cole Taylor. "We've done Real Snow together before, and it is not easy, so working with someone who has that experience is helpful. Plus, we're good friends and working with him has always been a positive experience, so there was no question that I would work with him again on this."
Chamberland's partner: Mathieu Gilbeault
"Mat is a lot more than a regular filmer," Anto Chamberland said of his Real Snow partner, Mathieu Gilbeault. "He worked for a decade running TV shows -- filming them and editing. He knows a lot about editing, color correcting and his audio experience is priceless. But the most important thing is that he is passionate about snowboarding and skateboarding. He understands my goals and ideas and also respects my limits when something is not working for me."
Bourgeois' partners: William and Charles Demers
"I chose William Demers [pictured] and Charles Demers, of the Brothers Factory, to work with because we are tight together, they work very hard, and they're really dedicated to this," Bourgeois said of his filmer-editor team. "They've been filming snowboarding for 13 years now. Every time we go on a trip, it's 100 percent pleasure -- we are always laughing and having a great time, and that's what it's all about. They shovel hard and, hungover or not, they are there for me every time."